Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Lost and Found III

(Above:  Lost and Found III. Custom picture framed: 18 1/2" x 18 1/2". Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: a decorative, slotted serving spoon; a red, beaded coaster; eight, light blue insulin lancets; blue and yellow, plastic napkin rings; keys; vintage capacitors; eleven, pink ladybugs that were once a decorative part of a set of shower curtains; two, clear tape discs; three different brands of beer caps; two small clothespins; two thimbles; garter hooks; gold hooks and eyes; rectangular brass metal pieces; beads and buttons. Click on either image to enlarge.)

I brought all sorts of "stuff" to the workshop I conducted for QSDS (Quilt and Surface Design Symposium) in Columbus, Ohio ... including one or two of the red, beaded coasters.  I've had them for months and months.  I never thought I would ever use them.  Yet, one of the participants laid out an amazing design using one.  It was so happy and cheerful.  I had to challenge myself to work with a vibrant palette, and this is the result.  I'm very pleased with it ... especially since I also found places for the pink ladybug shower hook embellishments.  I never thought I'd use them either!  Everyone learned something in that experience!

(Above:  Lost and Found III, detail.)

Thursday, June 16, 2022


(Above:  Detail of Mandala CXXVI. Click on any image to enlarge.)

In anticipation for last weekend's workshop, I completely stitched Mandala CXXVI.  I brought it still attached to its stretcher bar ... which was several inches larger than the finished piece ... in order to stitch the button edge without the needle running into the stretcher bar.  This piece served as my demonstration for removing it from this larger stretcher bar, stapling to the smaller stretcher bar over which I had already glued a piece of acid-free foam-centered board, and stitching the two layers together ... in order for the weight of the objects to be evenly distributed over the entire surface.  (If this doesn't make sense, please see an earlier blog post regarding my presentation techniques!)  It's often difficult to put into words these instructions.  It is far simply, especially in a workshop, to actually SEE the process.  So ... this piece was finished with workshop participants watching!  I even brought the float frame and a label for the reverse side!

(Above:  Mandala CXXVI.  Custom framed: 17 1/2" x 17 1/2". Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt.  Found objects include: A Maxwell House coffee lid; four, blue dyed wooden Tinker Toy connectors; all sixteen chess "black" side chess pieces (that are actually brown/wood); four old hole-punches; garter hooks; eight, touch-less door openers; eight, polished wheat pennies; four brioche molds holding red and blue plastic bottle caps and beads; and buttons.) 

All the participants in the workshop got a section of this same, old quilt ... already stapled to a stretcher bar but carefully marked for only a 12" x 12" area for stitching. The smaller size is obviously easier to stitch in a workshop situation!  As another example, I did one too!

(Above:  Mandala CXXVIII. Custom framed: 13 1/4" x 13 1/4". Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt. Found objects include: A spiral from inside an old clock; keys; gray, white, and tan plastic bottle caps; blue plastic insulin lancets; and buttons.)

Mandala CXXVIII was the piece I designed, stitched, and finished during the workshop.  One of the participants was able to tell me that my "little blue things" were insulin lancets!  I had no idea that the round "heads" twisted off to expose a tiny piece of metal!  These tiny things pierce the skin of diabetics in order to draw a small drop of blood for glucose monitoring.  When they were donated to my stash, I was told they were "medical" devices that had passed their expiration date!  That's all I knew.  Now, I know just how important they really are.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CXXVIII.)

This small piece was intentionally designed so that it could hang as either a square or a diamond ... another point I wanted to share with the workshop.

(Above:  Mandala CXXVII. Custom framed: 20" x 20". Found objects hand-stitched to a section of an antique quilt. Found objects include: A glass part of a lamp stem under which is a small sieve; six, vintage ice cream treat/Popsicle refrigerator trays; six gold flatware spoons; eight touch-less door openers; vintage blue plastic numbers and cent signs; six, white dominoes; six brass circles salvaged from old trophies; six sewing machine bobbins; four, upside down, disposable ashtrays on which were stitched four, rusty stars; and buttons.)

Finally, I brought along Mandala CXXVII in progress. This was an important demonstration piece because it allowed me to show how some of the objects are stitched together before they are attached to the quilt.  In this piece, I drilled holes in the refrigerator trays first.  Then, I stitched the dominoes, trophy circles, and bobbins onto the tray ... before stitching the tray to the quilt.  I did the same with the disposable ashtrays and rusty stars.  Basically, the corner "element" was stitched together before it was attached. 

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CXXVII.)

This piece was also an excellent example of how elements are pre-drilled.  There were lots and lots of holes drilled for this piece.  As a result, participants had no fear of drilling their own holes!

(Above: Detail of Mandala CXXVII.)

I didn't actually finish this piece until I got home.  Although Mandala CXXVII can hang as a square, I like it even better when hung as a diamond! (Below!) I'm now already at work on my next piece.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

QSDS 2022

(Above:  "One Woman's Trash Transformed", a two-day workshop at QSDS in Columbus, Ohio. Click on any image to enlarge.)

It is always such a pleasure to return to my hometown, Columbus, Ohio to conduct a workshop for QSDS (Quilt and Surface Design Symposium).  The setting is ideal ... the Columbus College of Art and Design. Participants stay in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, and have 24/7 access to the most perfect studio space ever!  

Originally, this workshop was written for a four-day experience.  I thought long and hard about what had to be cut from the agenda. Finally, I decided to cut only my own Power Point presentation! This meant that I had to really "watch the clock" and seriously "push the envelop" to get everything accomplished!

(Above:  The table of "found objects" for participants to use for their own mandala.)

In two days, everyone managed to make greeting cards from old, cut-up artwork, magazine images, upholstery scraps, and a selection of 1973 wallpaper samples. I brought the note cards, envelops, and professional "crystal clear" bags that seal ... in two different sizes.  Everyone made at least two wooden thread spool ornaments too.  I brought 11" x 14" mats with "crystal clear" bags and plenty of fusible fabric straps.  These things became an instant design challenge as well as a ready-to-sell piece of artwork. Old keys were tagged with an inspirational word ... and shadowboxed into existing frames.  Lots of yarn was zigzag stitched into cording ... and cording was stitched into a fiber vessel.  (The finished vessel went to one of the participants ... randomly!  But, the most exciting part of the workshop was the process of turning a table filled with "found objects" into a small mandala.

(Above:  A participant stitching her Found Object Mandala.)

Thankfully, Steve came along on this trip.  He did all the driving and helped unload all this "stuff" into the classroom.  Yes ... we brought EVERYTHING used!  It's a lot but it is so worth it!  Participants didn't have to bring anything ... which is a good thing!  At least two of the participants flew to Columbus.  They needed their suitcase space for themselves, not for the items on a lengthy supply list!

(Above:  A participant zigzag stitching on the fiber vessel.)

For two days, I really pushed the workshop forward.  It was exciting and fun.  In the meantime, Steve went to the Columbus Art Festival, the art museum, and the zoo.  He also visited our old stomping grounds, the Ohio State University campus.  Then, we packed up.  The return load was a lot lighter because everyone in the workshop did such a great job of using the provided supplies!

(Above:  Participants stitching.)

Unlike many fiber art workshops, I set up the room a bit differently.  Participants don't have individual tables.  They sit and stitch together.  This allows more space around all the "work stations".  It also means that conversations are easy and friendships are made!  I really hope to see these great people in the future!

(Above:  A participant and her Found Object Mandala.)

By the end of Sunday, two of the participants had their mandalas totally stitched, removed from the first stretcher bar, stapled to the smaller/finished stretcher bar, and ready to hang on the wall.  The others weren't far behind.  Personally, I finished the one Found Object Mandala that I brought already stitched ... as a demo for the finished presentation ... plus, I finished the one I started as a "how to" example ... plus, I finished my next piece too.  I'll be blogging them soon.  By the way, I'll be conducting this workshop as a three-day experience at AYA Fiber Studio in Florida this coming November 30 - December 2, 2022.  It will happen directly after a two-day HOT workshop, November 28 and 29!  Come play with me!

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Christmas ornaments and workshop prep

(Above:  A boat load of embellished wooden thread spools.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Sometime in early February, I started wrapping old skeins of yarn around my collection of vintage, wooden thread spools ... but only when attending Bill Mishoe's weekly auctions (Tuesday and Friday nights). Sometime in mid-March, they were ready for their buttonhole stitched edges ... top and bottom ... but still only when at the auction house.  Sometime around April Fools Day, I started adding the decorative stitches.  I've also done this while riding in the van ... like when my solo show was delivered to Artisans on the Square in Greenville, GA or when taking the recently finished Peacock Feathers to the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville. 

(Above:  Ernie the Cat and the boat load of embellished wooden thread spools.)

The wrapping and stitching is fun and easy.  They also look so pretty in this wooden boat made by my friend Jeff Donovan.  (Please do click this link.  It shows one of Jeff's other vessels but also includes the most hilarious and truly fitting artist statement ever!)  Well ... when the boat gets filled, I know it is time to start transforming the embellished thread spools into ...


Less that half the boat load is currently finished but I have plenty of time before November's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  YES!  I'm thrilled to announce that my artwork was accepted again ... in two categories:  Decorative Fibers (which will be my Found Object Mandalas) and Basketry (which will be my Fiber Vessels.  I've secured a one-week, late July, art residency at the Rensing Center in Pickens, South Carolina in order to make lots and lots of cording for the fiber vessels!)  

Most of this week, however, has been in "hunter-gatherer" mode.  I'm conducting a two-day workshop at QSDS called One Woman's Trash Transformed.  I'm absolutely thrilled to be returning to in-person workshops.  Steve is driving me there ... so I'll be stitching more Christmas ornaments on the way!